At the hospital, Eric watched with obvious confusion as Nicole stared at Mackenzie's birthmark in shock. "It has to be a coincidence..." Nicole muttered, further confusing Eric. "It's not possible..." Nicole continued, again increasing Eric's confusion. "Okay, you're gonna think I'm jumping to conclusions, or that I'm crazy --" Nicole finally began to explain. "What's new?" Eric jokingly interjected.
Unamused, Nicole started to forge ahead -- but Raynor entered Mackenzie's room just then, interrupting the conversation. "Is Sarah here?" Raynor wondered. "She went out to dinner," Eric reported. "Oh... Well, would you tell her goodbye for me? [See], I was offered another job, [so] I'm leaving -- tonight," Raynor continued. "That's...kind of abrupt, isn't it?" Nicole noted. "Yes -- I guess it is," Raynor conceded.
As Raynor began to assure Eric that Mackenzie would be in good hands with one of University Hospital's other doctors, Nicole began thinking about Raynor's earlier handshake with Xander.
"Well, that sure came out of nowhere..." Eric said to Nicole after Raynor rushed off. "Would you excuse me? I'll be right back," Nicole replied before chasing after Raynor.
Nicole caught up to Raynor at the nearest elevator and wondered if there was any chance that Mackenzie and Rachel's identical birthmarks could mean that Mackenzie was actually Rachel. "There are procedures [in place] to make an accidental switch impossible," Raynor assured Nicole with a gulp. "What if it wasn't an accident?" Nicole suggested. "Who would do such a thing?" Raynor countered. "Your 'friend' and mine -- Xander Kiriakis," Nicole guessed. "He couldn't have --" Raynor insisted. "[Maybe not] alone...[but if] you're in it with him..." Nicole suddenly realized.
"Have you forgotten your oath? I think you did a whole lot of harm!" Nicole snapped. "You're out of your mind -- baby switches only happen on TV and in the movies!" Raynor declared. "I did it myself [once]," Nicole countered. "And you're judging me?" Raynor incredulously summarized. "I did it for love, not money -- [and] I'm not proud of it," Nicole explained. "[Speaking of love], what do you think Eric Brady will say when you tell him you want to take his daughter and give her to his brother? Do you think he'll ever feel the same way about you again?" Raynor countered -- just as Eric approached.
Raynor rushed off, leaving Nicole alone with Eric. "What were you gonna tell me before?" Eric wondered. "It was nothing," Nicole claimed, forcing a smile.
Xander took Sarah to the Bistro -- and, thanks to a lot of money that had exchanged hands earlier, they were the only two diners in the restaurant.
Xander eventually proposed to Sarah, who laughed hysterically in response. "Not exactly the reaction I was looking for..." Xander grumbled. "I'm so sorry -- [it's just that] this is our first real date, and...you're proposing!" Sarah explained. "We've always been unconventional. You and Rex were conventional to the max, and look how that turned out," Xander countered. "Point taken," Sarah conceded.
Sarah soon agreed to marry Xander, who was thrilled. "From my diamond-smuggling days," Xander explained after slipping the engagement ring on Sarah's finger. "Paid for fair and square," Xander quickly added.
While passing through Horton Town Square, Raynor tried to contact Xander, but the call went to voicemail. "I'm on my way out of town, but I thought you'd like to know -- Nicole Walker is onto you. She asked me point-blank if you had switched those babies. I denied it, but she wasn't buying it. I'd say you have a big problem on your hands," Raynor said before ending the call.
At the Salem Inn, Kristen told Brady more about what had happened with Eric at the hospital earlier. "I do get [why Eric wouldn't let me hold Mickey] -- I mean, she's [still] recovering from her procedure, and he hates me...for good reason -- but...I have to tell you, when I was in that room, I had this overwhelming need to just hold that little girl in my arms," Kristen admitted to Brady with a shrug, unable to explain the urge.
"I'm sorry that Eric said no," Brady stressed. "[Eh...considering what] I've done to Eric [and] your family...I mean, I [guess] it was big of him not to throw me out," Kristen acknowledged, shrugging again. "You are not the same person anymore -- things are different now," Brady insisted. "For us, yeah...but don't expect your family to -- to buy into it anytime soon," Kristen countered. "They will come around," Brady predicted -- just as someone began pounding on the hotel room door. "I know you're in there -- [and] I'm not going away until we talk," John called out to Kristen while continuing to pound on the door.
"Any idea where that microchip you call your daddy took my wife?" John asked Kristen after Brady opened the hotel room door. "No," Kristen replied. "He told you he was Stefano, [so] what else did he tell you?" John skeptically challenged Kristen. "Any new DiMera crypts or dungeons you want to tell me about?" John continued. "Why don't we go downstairs, [and] I'll buy you a beer --" Brady interjected. "There's a maniac [out there] that's trying to annihilate my wife -- I do not want a beer, okay?" John snapped. "I understand, [but] I don't want you going crazy," Brady explained.
"I'm a little worried about you right now --" Brady admitted. "Oh? Well, guess what -- seeing you holed up in here with her makes me a little worried about you! [After all], you never know when she's gonna take a potshot at somebody --" John countered. "That's off-limits!" Brady warned. "No, it's okay -- he can be angry," Kristen assured Brady.
"I thought [my father] was only here to take the business over," Kristen told John. "If I would have known that he was after [Marlena], I would have told you, John -- and if I knew anything about him now, I swear to you, I would tell you!" Kristen continued. "Why is it that I don't believe a word you say?" John countered with a scoff, prompting Brady to object again. "Sorry, kid -- I'm just a little stressed right now," John eventually backpedaled. "Don't worry about it. [And, look], you're gonna find her -- you always do, no matter who you're up against, [right]? Stefano, Anjelica Deveraux, Hattie -- hell, Dad, even Orpheus --" Brady assured John.
"'Orpheus' -- I've heard that name before," Kristen recalled. "An old [ISA] partner of mine [who] went rogue -- he kidnapped Marlena, forced her to raise his kids..." John began to explain. "[A few] years ago, he broke out of prison, [and then] he and Clyde Weston and Xander tried to blow up the town --" Brady continued for John. "And he [also] kidnapped Marlena again -- this time along with Kayla. He locked 'em in coffins, set 'em on fire -- thank God [that] Steve and I got there in time... [Anyway], he and Steve struggled for a gun, [and] Orpheus got shot, and the paramedics declared him dead at the scene," John concluded.
"[Back then, I was] so grateful to Steve for helping me, [but] now...all I want is him dead," John mused with a shake of the head before starting to rush off.
Kristen stopped John. "I am gonna be praying for Marlena -- and if anyone can find her, it's you," Kristen stressed before giving John a hug. "Thanks..." John stiffly replied, pulling away from Kristen.
After John left, Brady thanked Kristen for having shown John such patience and compassion.
At a motel, Evan scoffed at Orpheus' grand assertion that Evan had learned how to outsmart members of law enforcement from "the best" criminal mastermind -- and at the fact that Orpheus had made the bold claim while speaking in the third person, causing it to sound even more pretentious. "If it's all the same to you, I'll just call you 'Dad,'" Evan decided, drawing a smirk from Orpheus.
"[Anyway]...thanks...for your help," Evan concluded as Orpheus began filling two glasses with whiskey. "You certainly needed it," Orpheus declared. "Here we go..." Evan muttered, bracing for a lecture. "Son, you always were a...'clear' thinker...[but] this time, you really outdid yourself," Orpheus continued while handing Evan one of the glasses of whiskey.
"You want your son back, so you murder his mother [then] move in with a police detective --" Orpheus began to summarize. "To be with my son!" Evan defensively explained. "And then, when the noose starts to tighten, you take your son [and] make a run for it...but first, you stop to propose to your latest paramour -- [while] waving a gun, [because] that always works --" Orpheus continued. "Okay, just...give me a break!" Evan tiredly protested. "And then you let some...slip of a girl...take the gun from you and march you off to prison --" Orpheus continued.
"Maybe I should've just put everybody on a yacht and blown 'em up!" Evan, who apparently knew all about Orpheus' crimes, angrily countered. "Be careful how you speak to me -- your life and your son's life are both in my hands," Orpheus coolly warned Evan with a scowl after a moment of silence. "[Now], do you have anything you want to say?" Orpheus continued. "I'm sorry," Evan muttered. "Sir," Evan grudgingly added after realizing that Orpheus wasn't satisfied yet. "Forgotten," Orpheus immediately replied, dropping the scowl and waving a hand dismissively.
"Isn't this nice? Three generations in one seedy motel! Family is everything, isn't it?" Orpheus cheerfully declared as Evan checked on David, who was still sleeping soundly. "It's weird -- he usually throws a tantrum if he doesn't have his train," Evan curiously mused, surprised that Orpheus had somehow managed to get David to fall asleep without any trouble after dropping the toy in the town square earlier. "I played my pan flute," Orpheus dryly claimed, unable to give Evan a real explanation for the oddity. Unamused, Evan demanded to know why Orpheus had gone to the town square in the first place.
"Groceries," Orpheus explained. "You took him out to the grocery store when the whole city is out looking for him?" Evan incredulously summarized. "I didn't take him -- [and] watch your tone," Orpheus countered. "You left him alone?" Evan incredulously concluded. "I didn't leave him -- I had someone watching him," Orpheus clarified. "Who?" Evan demanded to know. "Mary Poppins," Orpheus replied.
"Christian, as I told you before, you and that child need my protection...so don't question my methods," Orpheus warned Evan again. "I'm not questioning your methods...and...I'm grateful for your help," Evan quickly backpedaled again. "What I fail to understand is why you never call me before you commit these catastrophic blunders," Orpheus mused, again switching at once to a more cordial tone. "I didn't want to put you out," Evan explained. "I [could have] tracked down that Jordan woman -- I know enough not to strangle a person before they tell me what I need to know," Orpheus joked.
"But, uh...that little murder wasn't premeditated, was it?" Orpheus guessed as Evan resisted the urge to react to the earlier dig. "No, it wasn't," Evan confirmed. "I didn't think so -- I didn't think you planned to have a convicted serial killer discover the body and conveniently take the rap for you, [because] that would have been slick," Orpheus stressed, and Evan again struggled to ignore the dig. "[And yet], even after that gift from heaven, you stayed [here], mooning after that little Kiriakis, [and that] allowed that Nancy Drew to bring you down --" Orpheus continued, further annoying Evan.
"Okay, you know what? Yeah, you're right! I -- I screwed up! I screw everything up!" Evan conceded, silencing Orpheus. "But I -- I stuck around to be with my son; I did everything I did to be with my son!" Evan clarified. "Yeah, [because] you're a devoted father -- like me," Orpheus stressed, drawing a scoff from Evan, who seemed eager to challenge Orpheus' claim.
"You know...there's, uh -- there's something that I didn't tell you..." Evan began to reveal, deciding to instead change the subject. "When Ciara took me to stop the execution, Marlena Evans was there," Evan continued. "Sounds like her idea of a good time," Orpheus dryly mused. "I knew her the second I saw her, but she didn't know who I was," Evan continued with obvious confusion. "Well, you and your sister were very young when she took care of you, [and] it was only for a few months," Orpheus explained with a shrug, not particularly surprised that Marlena hadn't recognized Evan.
"I heard she's been kidnapped...by Steve Johnson -- only...he thinks he's Stefano DiMera," Evan reported, drawing a chuckle of amusement from Orpheus. "Well, let's hope it ends horribly for all of them -- John, Marlena, Kayla, and especially Steven 'Patch' Johnson. I really hate people who try to kill me," Orpheus dryly declared.
"So...the paramedics Steve called [when you supposedly died back in 2016] actually worked for the ISA --" Evan began to recall. "[And] Pamela Van Damme was head of ISA then, and she presumed I'd be willing to give up my secrets in exchange for my life," Orpheus elaborated. "May she rest in peace," Orpheus dryly added. "Natural causes?" Evan guessed with a scoff, perhaps assuming that Orpheus had later killed Pamela in order to protect those secrets. "Accident," Orpheus vaguely clarified, not bothering to correct Evan's assumption with the story of Pamela's true cause of death at Tripp's hand back in 2018.
"And, while it's been convenient to be presumed dead, it's actually [also] been a little hard -- I've had to lie low, and it's difficult to access resources [now]," Orpheus admitted. "I know -- that's why I went to Sonny for money," Evan explained. "Ugh -- I wonder if I could get you to refrain from using that name again..." Orpheus grumbled. "I was in love with another man, Dad -- deal with it," Evan snapped. "It's not his gender I object to; it's his species -- Kiriakis! I can't abide them!" Orpheus explained with a shudder. "[But] you're always so easygoing..." Evan sarcastically mused.
"[Anyway], you don't have to worry about Sonny anymore -- he's back with Will," Evan admitted with a sigh. "David's all I have now...[but] even though I'm David's father, [Rafe] still has legal custody, [and] he's gonna do everything he can to get [David] back and send me to prison --" Evan continued. "Son, you have a firm grasp of the obvious," Orpheus dryly interjected. "[So], until I figure something out, I -- I need to come up with a way to keep [Rafe] at bay," Evan concluded. "Maybe we could make a run for it," Orpheus suggested. "[But] then I'd be running forever," Evan pointed out.
"No -- I need to stay here and get my son back legally," Evan decided. "Which will be easier now that they threw out the confession," Evan continued. "They still have your DNA at the crime scene," Orpheus reminded Evan, who dismissed that as circumstantial evidence. "If I can beat the charges, [then] I can sue for custody," Evan concluded. "That's a big 'if'..." Orpheus stressed, annoying Evan.
"[But] don't worry -- I'll handle it," Orpheus promised. "I don't want you to get into trouble," Evan protested. "I still have one big advantage going for me -- nobody knows Orpheus is back," Orpheus pointed out.
Meanwhile, Eli and Lani helped Rafe review surveillance footage from the town square. "There's something familiar about that guy," Rafe observed when Eli and Lani spotted the man who had dropped Evan's toy train earlier.
Gina makes an offer to Rolf
Ciara visited Ben at the prison. "You don't look too happy to see me," Ciara said. Ben asked about Ciara's mother. Ciara said she was going to spend time with Hope, but she needed to tell Ben something first. "The news that I have, it's not good," Ciara said. Ciara told Ben that Evan's confession had been thrown out because she had used coercion to get the confession.
"What happens if [Evan] beats those charges? Am I stuck in here?" Ben asked. Ciara said that Justin was confident that he could exonerate Ben, based on the new evidence. Ben was angry that he could not help track down the man that had killed Jordan and kidnapped David. Ciara stressed that Rafe would find David. Ben urged Ciara to be with Hope. Ben said he would pray for the surgery to be successful.
After Ciara left, Clyde walked in and hugged Ben. "Is it true your girl burst into the death chamber, holding a gun on the guy that really killed Jordan?" Clyde asked. Ben confirmed that he had flatlined. Clyde said he was impressed with Ciara and grateful. "When do you get out of here?" Clyde asked. Ben said he did not know when he could leave. Ben told Clyde about the situation with Evan. Clyde was furious and suggested that he would like to torture the information about David out of Evan.
"I hate to say it, but I agree. I wish I could take a run at him. Give me five minutes alone with that son of a bitch who let me take the fall for Jordan's murder and took her son," Ben growled. Clyde complained that Rafe had not realized that Jordan's killer was the nanny. Ben explained that Evan had hidden his identity from Rafe.
"His real name was Christian Maddox," Ben said. Clyde's eyebrow went up. "Wait, what?" Clyde said with surprise. Clyde frowned. "Do you know the son of a bitch who killed my sister?" Ben asked.
Orpheus returned to his motel room with breakfast and a new toy train for David. "Think my grandson will like it?" Orpheus asked. Evan shrugged. Orpheus asked Evan if he was okay. "[David] wouldn't stop asking for Rafe," Evan said. Orpheus suggested that Evan tell David that Evan was his real father. Evan said he was frustrated that he had not been able to tell David the truth.
"David is at that age where he repeats everything. I couldn't risk telling him telling anyone that I was his father. Especially Rafe," Evan explained. "Rafe isn't in the picture anymore. So, what's stopping you?" Orpheus asked. Evan explained that he had not told David the truth in order to protect him. Orpheus argued that David was safe.
"The greatest feeling a father can have is the one I missed. When a man looks at his son and he tells the whole wide world, 'that's my boy,' and then he turns around and the son looks at him and says 'Dad,'" Orpheus said. Orpheus said he wanted Evan to have that feeling. "When a son looks at you and says that little word, it makes you want to be better. It makes you want to be worthy," Orpheus said. Orpheus talked about the first time Evan had called him dad and had looked at him like "a superhero."
"Boy, was I wrong about that," Evan said. "You're right, son. I was no superhero," Orpheus admitted. Orpheus said he regretted the pain he had caused his children. "I want you to know how grateful I am that finally we've reconnected after all these years," Orpheus said. Evan thanked Orpheus. "I'm not a superhero myself. In the short amount of time I've been a father, I've made more mistakes than I can count," Evan added. Evan said he wanted to focus on what was best for David.
"There is nothing on this earth that can compare to a father's love for his son," Orpheus stressed. Evan said he had almost told David the truth, but David had asked for Rafe. Orpheus assured Evan that nothing would come between him and his son David again. Orpheus urged Evan to tell David the truth when he woke up from his nap. With a nod, Evan agreed. Evan asked about their next move.
"I think we should get out of Dodge," Orpheus said. Evan said he did not want a life on the run with David. "I think my best move is to stay here and lie low," Evan argued. Evan said that he believed he could beat the charges against him.
With a sigh, Evan noted that he should wake David up from his nap so that he wouldn't have trouble going to bed later. "You really know that kid, don't you?" Orpheus said. "I know him better than anyone. He's my son," Evan said.
At the Hernandez house, an exhausted Rafe returned home after a night of searching for David. Shawn stopped by to inform Rafe that Hope was headed into surgery. Rafe sighed with relief. Rafe apologized for not being able to go to the hospital, but Shawn assured Rafe that the family understood that Rafe needed to find David. Shawn handed Rafe the toy train from evidence.
"I can't believe Princess Gina had us fooled for so long. I should have figured it out," Rafe said. Shawn reminded Rafe that he'd had no prior experience with Gina and that the file Rafe had compiled on "Hope" had helped. Shawn added that if Rafe had not been suspicious enough to call Shawn in Hong Kong, they might never have realized that Gina was posing as Hope.
While Rafe stared at David's toy train, Shawn heated up waffles for Rafe to eat. "You got to keep your strength up for you son," Shawn said. Rafe noted that waffles were David's favorite food. "We better hurry up and find your kid so he can help you eat them," Shawn said. "Damn right," Rafe said as he cut into the waffles. Rafe thanked Shawn for his support during a difficult time for them both. Shawn promised that once Hope was back, he would help Rafe find his son.
In her loft, a frustrated Lani wanted to get back out and search for David. "We'll find him, but we can't do that if we're exhausted," Eli said. After Eli showered, he returned to the living room and found a teary-eyed Lani staring at a flyer of David. Eli told Lani that they would find David and return him home. With a sigh, Lani said that as a cop, she had been able to put her emotions aside and work a case. Lani added that this case was different.
"This feels really personal, and I know that I will not be able to rest until that little boy is safe," Lani said. With a nod, Eli said, "We'll go find him." When Lani and Eli arrived at the police station, Rafe was sorting through a large stack of transcripts from the tip line. Rafe thanked Lani and Eli for helping canvass the city with flyers. When Rafe told Eli and Lani they were free to go home and sleep, Lani pulled up a chair.
"We are not resting until we bring your little boy home," Lani said. As Lani and Rafe sorted through the transcripts, Shawn texted Rafe to inform him that forensics was going to search Rafe's house again. Rafe asked Lani if she had found anything yet. Lani shook her head no. After Eli called his contact at the FBI, he told Rafe that his friend was working on a list of known associates for Christian Maddox.
Eli joined Lani and Rafe and started going through the stack of transcripts. Lani found something. Lani said that a man matching Evan's description had been spotted. "I think I know where David is," Lani said.
At the nurses' station at the hospital, Kayla and Jennifer discussed Hope's surgery. Jennifer said that Doug was too stressed to be at the hospital. Jennifer noted that Ciara would arrive soon. With a shake of her head, Kayla worried aloud about Shawn and Ciara's emotional health. Jennifer was frustrated that Rolf was performing the surgery.
"After everything he has done, how can you even trust him?" Jennifer asked. "I trust him to take out the microchip," Kayla said firmly. Jennifer expressed her concern that Rolf might do something while in surgery, but Kayla promised to watch Rolf through the whole procedure. "It is crazy that Gina's cold, cruel behavior comes down to this chip," Jennifer lamented.
In her hospital room, Gina thought about when Ciara had visited her and called her creepy. "You're a microchip," Ciara had said. Ciara had vowed not to give up until Hope was restored. Gina also thought about when Shawn had announced that Rolf had been captured.
As Gina complained about the indignities of being handcuffed to her bed, Rolf walked in. "Are you all right?" Rolf asked. "No! I am not all right. I command you to free me from these chains. Spirit me away this instant! Please," Gina begged. Rolf explained that he had no choice. "You simply must accept your fate," Rolf said. Gina lashed out at Rolf when he explained that he was there to perform the surgery.
"There was no other way. They wanted me to turn on Stefano," Rolf said. Rolf said that he could not betray Stefano for Gina or anyone else. "I have agreed to end your reign," Rolf said. As Rolf stepped toward Gina, she cried out that she would rip him limb from limb. Rolf announced that he would check on the operating room.
"I understand that you do not wish to be disloyal to Stefano, but I also know that you do not wish to destroy your own masterpiece," Gina said. Gina pleaded with Rolf not to destroy her. With a shrug, Rolf said he had no choice.
"Outsmart them as only you can. Go through the surgery. Go through the motions of it all, but surreptitiously leave the chip right where it is. The fruits of your labor live on, and I will still be Princess Gina Von Amberg, and no one will be any the wiser," Gina pleaded. Gina explained that she would pretend to be Hope when she woke from the surgery.
"That will be very challenging," Rolf said. Gina pointed out that she had fooled everyone in town for a year and that she could do it again. "While I appreciate your passion for self-preservation, what you are proposing simply is not possible," Rolf said. Rolf explained that Kayla would be watching over the surgery and waiting to take the microchip. Gina told Rolf that she believed he had the sleight of hand needed to swap out the chip.
"You must do this," Gina said before Kayla and Jennifer walked in. Gina fell silent. Gina grew defensive about her privacy. "I assure you that Jen and I were neither peeping or eavesdropping. I'm just prepping you for surgery," Kayla said. Gina demanded that Kayla knock before she entered the room in the future. Kayla administered a sedative to Hope, and she informed Rolf that an officer was waiting outside to escort him to the OR.
"[Gina] fully understands what to expect," Rolf said as he stared Gina in the eyes. Gina averted her face from Kayla and smiled. Rolf scurried out of the room. "Here I am, holding court with Tweedledum and Tweedledumber," Gina joked. Jennifer said that she was there to make sure that Gina's nightmare reign was over.
"Please be a dear and go find another balcony to fall off," Gina quipped. Kayla told Gina that this was goodbye. "It does not matter what you do to me. I shall always be Princess Gina Van Amberg, just as your beloved Steve will always be the great Stefano DiMera," Gina said. "We'll see what happens when you wake up," Kayla countered.
At the nurses' station, Ciara and Shawn hugged. "Is mom in surgery yet?' Ciara asked. Kayla wheeled Gina out into the hallway, and she told Ciara and Shawn that Gina had been sedated so that she would not struggle against anesthesia. Ciara asked Kayla to confirm that she would be with Hope during her surgery. Kayla said yes. As the nurse started to move the bed, "Hope" asked him to stop.
"I want a word with my children," "Hope" said. Shawn confirmed he was there. "Yes. You're here. But your mother's not, and she's never coming back," Gina said with a sleepy-eyed smirk. Kayla pushed the bed away quickly. While Kayla was in surgery with Hope, Ciara paced restlessly in front of Shawn in the waiting area. Ciara lamented that she had not spent much time with her mother recently.
"She's not exactly the most pleasant person to deal with. I swear, she provokes me, and I push back. Even though I know she's not my mom, I still feel bad," Shawn admitted. Ciara started to say something negative, and Shawn chuckled. "Princess Gina is a royal bitch," Shawn joked. Ciara smiled.
After the surgery, Ciara sat next to Hope's bedside and talked to her. "Please, just come back to us, mom," Ciara said as she kissed her mother's hand.
At the nurses' station, Kayla informed Shawn and Jennifer that Hope was stable. Jennifer sighed with relief, and she announced that she was going to go tell Doug the news in person. Kayla promised to text Jennifer after Hope was awake. As Jennifer ran off, Kayla handed the microchip to Shawn.
"I'll take it down to the station. I'll have the lab do a thorough analysis on it," Shawn said. Shawn asked if Rolf had behaved. "I didn't see anything," Kayla said. "With all due respect, Dr. Brady, what you saw was a master at work," Rolf interjected. Shawn warned Rolf that he would hold him responsible if Hope was not herself when she woke up.
"The procedure was an unqualified success," Rolf promised. "Until we know for sure, you're coming to the station with me, where I can keep an eye on you," Shawn said. Shawn escorted Rolf out of the hospital. Kayla whispered a prayer for Hope.
Clyde informs Ben that Evan is Orpheus' son
At the hospital, Doug, Ciara, Jennifer, Kayla, and Jack waited anxiously for confirmation that Rolf's procedure had truly put an end to Gina's days of being in control of Hope's body.
"Is it really you?" Ciara asked when Hope's eyes opened. "Of course, it's me -- why would you have any doubt?" Hope replied with a hint of a smile -- or perhaps a smirk.
Each of Hope's loved ones breathed a sigh of relief and shed a few tears of joy. Doug was quick to embrace Hope, who returned the gesture with a hint of weakness -- or perhaps stiffness.
"She seems alert, aware of her surroundings..." Jack whispered to Kayla. "Yeah -- so far, so good..." Kayla agreed in an equally hushed tone. "But is there a chance that she's faking?" Jennifer suggested, also speaking quietly. "Faking?" Hope curiously repeated, proving that it was pointless to whisper in such a small room. "Oh -- nothing... No, don't worry -- it's... You don't need to worry," Jennifer replied.
"[But] I am worried -- [I mean], no one's even told me what I'm doing here, [or] what happened to me..." Hope countered. "Was I in an accident?" Hope asked. "Uh...not exactly..." Kayla replied. "Then...what did happen? And why [did Ciara ask if] I'm me? Is something wrong with me?" Hope wondered. "No, nothing is 'wrong' with you...[but] you're coming out of general anesthesia --" Kayla began to explain. "I had surgery?" Hope realized, surprised. "Think back -- what's the last thing you remember?" Kayla continued. "I was here -- inside the hospital chapel, praying..." Hope began to recall after some thought.
"Julie needed a new heart, and --" Hope continued before glancing at Doug with sudden concern. "Julie's just fine, sweetheart -- she had the transplant," Doug assured Hope.
"Keep going," Doug prodded Hope. "Rolf -- he came up behind me [and] said that he was the answer to my prayers... [He] told me that he could help Julie -- extend her life until a heart became available... [And] I was hesitant -- [I mean], it was Rolf -- [but] he kept talking about his brilliance, repeatedly reminding me of how he'd helped [other] people I love... And I so badly wanted to help Julie, [so] I went with him to his lab..." Hope continued. "Is it Rolf that saved her?" Hope assumed. "Why don't we focus on what else happened that day," Kayla evasively suggested, prompting Hope to continue again.
"Rolf had, uh...a vial with...[I don't know], some kind of compound that he was working on...[and] he was confident [that] it would be really effective, [so] I told him that I would meet him outside of Julie's room... He was filling the syringe with this compound, and..." Hope recalled. "That's why I'm here -- he stabbed me with the syringe!" Hope suddenly realized with a gasp of horror.
"What did he do to me?" Hope demanded to know, prompting Kayla to ask everyone else except Jennifer to leave the room.
"He turned you into Princess Gina," Kayla informed Hope after Jack and Ciara dragged an uncooperative Doug out of the room. "The same [way] he did years ago -- he implanted a microchip in your head," Kayla continued as Hope struggled to process the news. "But she's gone [now] -- they removed the microchip," Jennifer concluded for Kayla. "That's why I had the surgery," Hope realized. "Yes...and it went very well -- your vitals are strong, your memory is already coming back, and it's clear that you are gonna be your old self again very soon," Kayla stressed, and Jennifer agreed.
"You're telling me I've been gone for a year and a half?" Hope incredulously summarized after Kayla gently revealed the date.
"I can't believe how much time I've lost..." Hope fretted. "I get it -- I was in a coma for a year..." Jennifer began before stopping abruptly. "Did Rolf do that, [too]?" Hope wondered. "We don't really need to discuss that right now --" Kayla tried to advise, but Hope demanded answers. "Go ahead," Kayla reluctantly encouraged Jennifer, conceding that Hope couldn't be protected from the truth forever.
"I pushed you -- my best friend, my cousin -- off a balcony [and] cost you a year of your life?" Hope incredulously summarized after Jennifer gently elaborated. "You did not push me -- it was Gina," Jennifer stressed as Hope broke down. "No one holds you responsible for my fall -- or anything else that Gina did..." Jennifer continued before again stopping abruptly. "What?" Hope worriedly replied.
At Statesville, Ben gauged Clyde's reaction to Evan's real name. "Do you know the son of a bitch who killed my sister?" Ben challenged Clyde. "Well...that, uh...depends on what you mean by 'know'..." Clyde replied. "Yes or no?" Ben snapped. "Yes," Clyde admitted. "Did you send him to kill Jordan?" Ben wondered. "Of course not!" Clyde insisted. "It's not far-fetched, Dad -- you and Jordan had plenty of issues," Ben pointed out. "I swear to you, I had nothin' to do with Jordan's death!" Clyde maintained. "I'm trying to decide if I believe you -- if you're really upset, or if this is just an act," Ben mused, eyeing Clyde suspiciously.
"It's no act," Clyde stressed. "I [just] can't believe that Maddox is the one that did the deed," Clyde explained. "[But] damn [him] for killin' Jordan, and damn him for almost gettin' you executed for it!" Clyde concluded.
Ben studied Clyde for a few more seconds then nodded, seemingly satisfied. "So, how do you know him?" Ben wondered. "I don't, really...but I know his daddy -- a guy by the name of Orpheus," Clyde clarified. "The guy you busted out of here a few years back?" Ben recalled. "That's the one," Clyde confirmed. "[Then] I guess we know where Evan gets his murderous tendencies from..." Ben, who had heard all about Orpheus' 2016 reign of terror, mused with a shake of the head. "[Though] I probably shouldn't be throwing stones at that particular house..." Ben quickly acknowledged. "You had a mental illness. You're better now," Clyde stressed.
"Yes -- I am, Dad...but you're not; you're nowhere near 'reformed,'" Ben pointed out. "And you expect me to believe that you had no idea about this connection to your old partner in crime -- [that] you had no clue whatsoever that Orpheus' son was hooking up with your daughter?" Ben continued, again eyeing Clyde suspiciously. "Well...I...wouldn't go that far..." Clyde replied. "What the hell is that supposed to mean, Dad? You just said you had nothing to do with Jordan's murder!" Ben snapped. "I didn't...but...knowin' what I know now, I'm startin' to feel like it's [still] all my fault..." Clyde clarified.
"And you will, too, once I explain..." Clyde predicted. "[See], it all started, uh...about three years ago..." Clyde began to elaborate.
"Who the hell are you?" Clyde demanded to know when a man entered Statesville's visitor's lounge. "You don't recognize your old pal?" the man -- whose features were partially hidden beneath facial hair, a pair of sunglasses, and a hoodie -- replied. "I thought you was dead!" Clyde admitted with a chuckle after correctly identifying the man.
"Lower your voice so people will go right on thinking that," Orpheus ordered Clyde. "I should've known you'd find a way to cheat the reaper," Clyde conceded, obeying Orpheus' command. "[So]...why are you here?" Clyde demanded to know. "Can't one old friend pay another old friend a visit?" Orpheus reasoned. "We ain't friends," Clyde insisted.
"I still can't believe you're even alive," Clyde admitted. "Surviving...but not thriving," Orpheus stressed. "What, are ya sick?" Clyde assumed. "No...but, given my circumstances, uh...I'm finding it difficult to access a whole lot of resources," Orpheus clarified. "I see -- you need some money," Clyde realized with a chuckle. "You're always ahead of me, Clyde," Orpheus confirmed.
"Didn't you once tell me that you have, uh...a nest egg hidden away somewhere?" Orpheus recalled. "What's it to ya?" Clyde replied. "Well, more to the point...what's it to you?" Orpheus countered. "I mean, you're stuck in here, and it's out there, doing nothing... I could put it to work -- use it to build a new, uh...power base," Orpheus reasoned. "What's in it for me?" Clyde wondered. "Once I'm on my feet, I'll bust you out of here," Orpheus offered. "You know I can pull it off -- I've done it before. Come on, Clyde -- what have you got to lose?" Orpheus continued. "Nothin' -- as long as you keep your word," Clyde conceded.
"But you're nuts if you think I'm gonna hand over my life savings," Clyde warned. "Of course. I was thinking, um...50/50," Orpheus suggested. "80/20," Clyde demanded. "And if you cross me, I'll make you pay," Clyde stressed. "I'll never cross you, Clyde," Orpheus insisted. "So...it's settled, then? Partners? Again?" Orpheus assumed, and Clyde confirmed the suspicion with a handshake after a moment of thought.
"Now, just point me to that stash..." Orpheus prodded Clyde. "There's a key to a safety deposit box hidden in my dead wife's jewelry case. My stepdaughter, Jordan, has got it. She's in California," Clyde revealed. "Hmm. What a coincidence -- so is my son," Orpheus replied before saying goodbye to Clyde, who had apparently already heard about Christian some other time, and exiting the visitor's lounge.
"So, you're the reason Jordan and Evan met," Ben summarized at the end of Clyde's tale. "Technically, yeah...but 'Evan' was just the courier -- he wasn't supposed to knock her up," Clyde stressed. "So, is that why Jordan didn't tell Evan that she was pregnant? [I mean], did she figure out that he was Orpheus' kid, and that you sent him her way?" Ben wondered. "I have no damn idea -- I haven't heard from Orpheus since. I assume he's tryin' to screw me over again. Hell, Evan probably ran off with my money!" Clyde replied. "Well, he also ran off with my nephew!" Ben grumbled.
At a motel, Orpheus emerged from a bathroom and wondered why Evan hadn't roused David yet. "Quiet," Evan snapped at Orpheus in a hushed tone while watching David sleep. "I thought you were gonna tell him you're his father," Orpheus continued in a whisper. "I was planning to, but...before I could wake him, I put my hand on his forehead, and he felt a little warm... I think he might have a fever," Evan explained with a sigh of concern.
"100.2," Evan reported with another sigh of concern after using a thermometer to check David's temperature. "Which, technically, isn't a fever...but it's close," Evan fretted. "Should we get him some medicine?" Orpheus wondered, also getting concerned. "Normally, I'd take him to the pediatrician to get him checked out, but now... I can't take him out in broad daylight -- there are cops everywhere!" Evan replied.
At the police station, Lani informed Rafe and Eli that a man matching Evan's description had been spotted outside a motel -- and that, although no child had been spotted with the man, the tip seemed credible.
Rafe, Lani, and Eli rushed over to the motel together -- and found Evan in one of the rooms. "Can I help you?" Evan innocently began as the trio searched the room. "No sign of David anywhere," Lani summarized with a sigh at the end of the search. "That's because David was never here," Evan coolly claimed while thinking about what had happened before the trio had arrived.
"I know it's risky -- taking David out into broad daylight -- but that's exactly what we're gonna do," Orpheus told Evan while preparing to leave the motel. "I don't understand -- is this about David's fever?" Evan assumed. "In part...but it's also because there's an APB out, and it's possible someone in this motel may have seen us," Orpheus clarified. "And called the cops," Evan realized. "Exactly -- so, for now, what's best is that we split up and relocate," Orpheus reasoned before starting to share a plan with Evan.
"Where is David?" Rafe demanded to know, shoving Evan into a chair. "I have no idea," Evan claimed with a shrug. "You said that he was in good hands!" Rafe pointed out. "I said what you wanted to hear so you'd get off my back...[but] I guess it didn't work, since you're still on my case, even though I'm out on bail," Evan countered.
Rafe started to drag Evan off to the police station for further questioning. "You have no right --" Evan protested. "I have every right!" Rafe insisted. "Fine, [then] -- take me in; it's better than staying here, where...where you'll beat me within an inch of my life in front of two witnesses who will say they never saw a thing," Evan decided. "But on the way, I'm calling my lawyer," Evan warned.
Later, at the police station, Rafe probed for information about the man who had dropped David's toy train in the town square, but Evan feigned ignorance -- and threatened to sue Rafe and the Salem Police Department for harassment. Rafe tried to get the district attorney to convince the judge to revoke Evan's bail, but the district attorney predicted that the judge wouldn't be in the mood to clean up Rafe's botched attempt to set a trap for Evan. Out of options, Rafe reluctantly set Evan loose again. "I assume you'll have me followed again, but I lost your guys the first time, and I'll do it again," Evan warned before storming back out of the police station.
Eli and Lani followed Evan, who produced a cell phone while passing through the park.
Meanwhile, Rafe received a phone call from Ciara, who provided an update on Hope's condition. "I'd put you on with Shawn, but he's down at the other end of the station, [watching] Rolf," Rafe explained. "I will give him a call as soon as we're [done with this conversation...but] there's actually another reason why I'm calling you," Ciara, who was still at the hospital, replied.
"I just talked to Ben, who wanted me to pass along some information," Ciara began to elaborate while claiming a chair in a waiting area near the nurses' station -- just as the nearest elevator arrived and opened its doors. "Evan's accomplice is Orpheus," Ciara continued. "Orpheus is dead," Rafe protested. "Not according to Clyde Weston, [who just] told Ben that [Orpheus is] very much alive...[and] that Orpheus is Evan's father," Ciara concluded -- just as Orpheus exited the elevator and started walking down a hallway, perhaps having heard everything.
Stefano orders Chad to plan a family gathering
Eric entered the Evans-Black townhouse just as John and Brady were wrapping up phone conversations with Shane and Abe, respectively.
"Abe has expanded the search perimeter," Brady reported. "Shane is pulling in extra resources from the ISA," John reported. "All the fliers are distributed," Eric reported.
"Progress --" Brady optimistically began to summarize. "[But it may be] too little, too late -- [I mean], Steve could have taken Marlena anywhere by now," John worriedly acknowledged. "If Steve is really Stefano, there's no [one] who knows him [better] than Mom --" Eric reassuringly began to argue. "Unless Rolf has gotten to her and implanted a chip," John fearfully countered. "[Look], I appreciate your support -- and everybody else's -- but I'm not gonna be good with this until Doc is back home and in my arms again," John explained to Brady and Eric with a shrug.
"I hate seeing him like this," Brady said to Eric after John stepped into the kitchen to force down some food. "Yeah... I wish there was...[you know], something more I could do," Eric replied. "Honestly, man, I think the best thing you can do is just go back to the hospital [and be with your daughter]," Brady stressed. "[But first]...I wanted to apologize to you about what happened with Kristen --" Brady continued. "She told you," Eric realized. "Yeah... Look, as you know, [she's] been struggling a lot with the loss of Rachel, and I think that she thought that maybe, by holding your little girl, that might make her feel a little better about losing ours," Brady concluded.
"It's not like I don't genuinely feel for your loss, because I do -- I mean, I can't imagine the hell of losing a child -- [but Kristen has] not only hurt me [but also] Nicole, my mom, and John... [Anyway], I just don't know if I can get past [that]," Eric explained. "I understand...[but] she is different now -- I swear to God, she has changed --" Brady tried to assure Eric. "I've heard that before..." Eric pointed out. "[But], for your sake, I really hope [it's] true [this time...and], for whatever it's worth, I respect that you truly love each other...and if you're happy --" Eric continued. "I am," Brady confirmed. "Then I'm happy for you," Eric concluded before hugging Brady.
Brady thanked Eric for the support, and they left the townhouse together.
While passing through Horton Town Square, Kristen bumped into Kate, who grumbled that a collision with literally any other person in Salem probably would have been preferable. "[I was hoping] I was never going to have to lay eyes on you again," Kate admitted. "Well, then, maybe you should just keep moving," Kristen countered. "I heard you were a nun," Kate noted, staying put. "Well, I heard you were a waitress...until you blew it," Kristen noted, smirking. "Couldn't help yourself, could you, Kate? What did my father, a.k.a. Steve Johnson, promise you for screwing over one of your best friends?" Kristen continued.
"You don't give a damn about Marlena," Kate pointed out. "But you do -- supposedly -- and [yet] you had no problem helping Stefano steal her from John [in exchange for...what, exactly]?" Kristen countered. "Money? Power? [And, in the end], what did you [actually] get for helping him?" Kristen continued, and Kate just scoffed in response, unable to brag about a single thing. "Exactly -- once again, you trusted the same man who made your life a living hell...[and once again, when] he was done with you, he kicked you to the curb. [And now]...you're unemployed, your roots are showing, [and] you're back in the gutter -- where you belong," Kristen concluded.
"Have a nice day," Kristen cheerfully advised before blowing a kiss, shoving past Kate, and walking away.
Kate scoffed again then continued heading toward the Evans-Black townhouse, eager to ask John for an update on the search for Marlena.
"There has been no sign of Steve [or Marlena since they were] at the DiMera estate," John reported with a sigh after greeting Kate with a hint of anger. "Well, at least we know Princess Gina was finally right about something -- Stefano did go back to his family home," Kate noted, ignoring John's coldness. "Last place I expected he'd go to ground," John admitted. "I mean, come on -- [after] Chad shot him at Gina's lair, [he] would have to be delusional to think that Chad would [ever] protect him," John reasoned. "I wouldn't be so sure about that," Kate warned.
"You think he's in league with Stefano," John assumed. "I didn't say that... [It's just that] when Andre died, I tried to give Stefano's ring to Chad, [and] he didn't want it -- he didn't want to have any part of his father -- [but now] Stefano's back, and suddenly Chad is wearing that ring, and it just seems kind of crazy because he was so adamant [before] about not wanting to follow in his father's -- in his father's footsteps," Kate clarified. "[So, you think] he's made peace with his father," John summarized. "Maybe? I don't know, [but] Stefano does have a way of drawing his children back into the web," Kate reasoned with a shrug.
"[And] Chad isn't Stefano's only child in Salem -- I mean, there's always Kristen, who I ran into earlier...[and] she is still crazy as a loon," Kate continued. "Yeah... [But] I already questioned her, [and] she swore to me that she only saw Steve once," John replied. "She said the same thing to me -- [and] I know that she supposedly has found God, but I do not put it past her to lie to either one of us [out of] loyalty to Stefano," Kate warned. "Yeah, well...you know, if she is lying, it's highly unlikely we're ever gonna get the truth out of her," John guessed. "But Chad is different -- [he] still has a heart [and] a soul," Kate stressed.
"You think Chad would open up to you about Stefano?" John wondered. "I'd like to think so -- [I mean], we've had a lot of issues, but I'd trust him with my life," Kate admitted. "I will talk to him -- [after all], it's the least I could do --" Kate continued. "Since you sold out Marlena for a place at the DiMera table?" John concluded for Kate. "For what it's worth, I never intended it to go this far," Kate insisted before exiting the townhouse.
Brady joined Kristen at Basic Black and reported that Marlena was still missing. "I wish there was something I could do -- you know, some way to reach out to my father --" Kristen fretted, perhaps more for Brady's sake than for Marlena's sake. "I know you want to help, but Marlena's a force, and my dad's not gonna rest until she's home," Brady assured Kristen.
"[Anyway], how are you? [I mean], I know yesterday was hard for you," Brady continued. "Yeah, it was horrible...[but] it made me realize that I can't dwell on Rachel and what could have been -- [I mean], I will love her until my last breath, but I can't obsess on her anymore, [because] it won't bring her back," Kristen replied. "I think that that's a healthy decision -- [I mean], we're always gonna love little Rachel Isabella, [but]...we have to move on," Brady acknowledged. "And we'll be able to do that -- together," Kristen predicted. "There's no other place I'd rather be," Brady stressed.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Xander found Victor in the living room and reported that Raynor had finally left town the previous night -- after getting into a confrontation with Nicole, who had somehow figured out that Mackenzie might actually be Rachel. "Damn it! [And] that ex-wife of ours is like a bitch with a bone -- she's never gonna let it go!" Victor grumbled. "[But] the last thing she'd want to do is take Mackenzie from Eric and place her in Kristen's arms," Xander predicted. "[Then perhaps she'll] keep this a secret," Victor decided. "What is this about a secret?" Maggie wondered, joining Victor and Xander in the living room.
"I'm waiting -- [and] you might as well just tell me, [because when] you two have your heads together, it's never good," Maggie continued. "You caught us," Xander admitted. "I guess we have to confess all [now]," Xander said to Victor. "What the hell are you doing?" Victor protested. "Maggie has a right to know, Uncle Victor -- this concerns her, too," Xander reasoned. "I don't think that's a good idea -- at all!" Victor objected. "I wasn't gonna say anything until Sarah got back, but Uncle Victor knows, so you should, too -- [and] there's no other way to say this than to just say it, so..." Xander began to tell Maggie.
"Last night, I proposed to Sarah -- and she said yes," Xander continued, leaving both Maggie and Victor stunned -- and the latter also relieved.
"You knew about this?" Maggie asked Victor. "Well, I -- I just found out..." Victor replied with a shrug. "[And] why didn't you think it was a good idea for Xander to tell me?" Maggie wondered. "Well, um...I -- I -- I just thought that the bride should be present..." Victor explained. "You're not happy," Xander helpfully interjected, speaking to Maggie. "Because I'm not good enough for her, [right]? You said as much in the past, but I hoped that we were in a better place now --" Xander continued. "Oh, Xander -- I'm not upset that you're marrying Sarah; I'm upset that I won't be here to share the joy that you both deserve so much," Maggie clarified.
"What do you mean, 'won't be here'? My lawyers have guaranteed you won't spend a minute behind bars!" Victor protested. "[And] I told you that's not what I want," Maggie countered. "I killed an innocent woman -- a woman that we both love -- and I will do my penance!" Maggie insisted. "But prison?" Victor objected. "It's the only way -- and then it's [still] not enough; it never will be enough," Maggie maintained. "I know you want to do what you perceive to be the right thing, but can't we just leave it up to the lawyers?" Victor begged, but Maggie ignored the request and rushed off to the hospital.
"Damn it, man -- you damn near gave me another stroke!" Victor snapped at Xander once the coast was clear. "I thought you were gonna tell Maggie the truth!" Victor continued. "I did -- I [really] proposed to Sarah last night, [and] she [really] said yes," Xander replied with a shrug. "Oh, heaven help us..." Victor muttered. "Too much to expect you to congratulate me or to give me some best wishes for a happily ever after, [then]," Xander realized with a sigh. "[If] you want to live happily ever after, you better damn well find a way to deal with Nicole!" Victor advised.
At the hospital, Nicole stared at Mackenzie's birthmark with obvious suspicion. "[It] doesn't prove anything...[but] what are the odds that Kristen's baby [just happened to be] born on the same night, with the same little birthmark, delivered by the same doctor -- who has a very strange relationship with Xander..." Nicole mused. "Oh, honey -- what if you aren't Eric's baby?" Nicole said to Mackenzie -- just as Sarah entered the child's room. "Why would you wonder if Eric is really Mickey's father?" Sarah asked. "Well...I...I was...I was looking at Mickey, and I realized that I didn't really see any [of] Eric in her," Nicole replied.
"[So], I was just thinking out loud -- which is never a good idea... [Anyway, did you ever] actually get a DNA test to prove the paternity of your baby?" Nicole continued. "Why would I [do that] when I know, without any shadow of a doubt, that Eric is Mickey's father? [Look], maybe she takes after her mother!" Sarah replied. "Of course," Nicole conceded. "[Look], I know it can't be easy for you to share Eric with Mickey...and me, [so]...is that why you [are doubting] that he's her father -- [because] you wish it wasn't true?" Sarah asked. "Not at all!" Nicole insisted as Sarah's cell phone started ringing.
Sarah gave Nicole a nod then stepped out of Mackenzie's room to answer the call. "We all love you very much, sweetheart, and we all want what's best for you...[but] maybe what's best for you is to find out who you actually belong to..." Nicole said to Mackenzie once the coast was clear, eyeing a container of cotton swabs. "Okay -- just a little swab, sweetheart..." Nicole soothingly explained while gently swabbing Mackenzie's mouth -- just as Eric entered the child's room. "What are you doing?" Eric wondered. "I...was...cleaning her ears," Nicole claimed.
"I know [it] sounds weird, but I used to love to do it when Holly was a baby...[and] the nurse said it was okay," Nicole explained while pretending to dispose of the cotton swab, which actually ended up in a purse instead of a trash can -- and was then wrapped in tissue paper to prevent contamination. "Okay... Well... Thank you..." Eric replied with a mixture of confusion and amusement, focused on Mackenzie. "I hate to run, but I really do need to get to work... [Look], I'm sure Marlena will be found soon -- just let me know if you hear anything, okay?" Nicole continued before giving Eric a hug then rushing off.
"One sample down, one to go -- and then I'll know exactly who Mackenzie's parents are..." Nicole mused while waiting for an elevator, which soon arrived -- with Xander aboard.
Meanwhile, Maggie congratulated Sarah on the engagement then stepped into Mackenzie's room and greeted Eric. "I judged you so harshly after what happened with Daniel, [and then] I did the exact same thing -- I drove drunk, and I killed Adrienne...[and] if not for the grace of God, I...I could have killed Sarah [and] my own granddaughter, [too]!" Maggie tearfully acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Xander grabbed Nicole and started to issue a threat -- just as Sarah approached.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad winced in pain while staring at Stefano's portrait. "Son, we need to talk," Chad soon heard Stefano's portrait declare. "I'm [over] here," Chad heard Stefano's portrait clarify seconds later.
Chad turned around and realized that Stefano had just entered the mansion through the secret tunnels -- and that Stefano's portrait had actually never said a word. "What are you doing here? I thought you would have taken Marlena far away by now," Chad said to Stefano. "Unfortunately, my queen wasn't quite ready to make the journey," Stefano explained with a sigh. "Rolf's procedure didn't work?" Chad assumed. "Well, there have been a few moments when Marlena seemed somewhat open to my love...but she still clings to the memory of that ridiculous husband of hers," Stefano admitted with a scowl.
"Is there anything else Rolf can do?" Chad asked. "His work is done -- it's just a matter of time now...and reminding Marlena of the depth of my love and the power of our connection," Stefano replied. "Once she is able to reciprocate those feelings, John Black will no longer hold a place in her memory...and certainly not in her heart," Stefano continued. "It's just too bad that, [in order for that to happen], Marlena needs to be brainwashed --" Chad began to argue. "It's not 'brainwashing'!" Stefano insisted, but Chad wasn't convinced. "You disapprove," Stefano guessed.
"I'm disappointed in you, son -- I thought I had ensured your loyalty...to La Famiglia," Stefano pointedly stressed, causing Chad to wince in pain again. "Forgive me, Father," Chad quickly begged. "Perhaps I can't count on you as I'd hoped," Stefano suggested, not yet satisfied. "[After all], Gabriella Hernandez is still very much alive -- as is Katerina. Why have you not followed through on my orders? You, of all my children, are the one I have put my trust in -- to take back DiMera, to lead us into the future -- and yet you question me, you defy me, you fail me... Perhaps I have chosen poorly," Stefano continued.
"I can explain --" Chad insisted. "I don't want explanations! I want obedience!" Stefano roared.
"I was about to eliminate Gabi when Rafe showed up. [And] I had a plan [for Kate, too], but then John dragged in Rolf, [and] I couldn't exactly kill [her] in front of the two of them. [And then] John took Rolf to the police station, [so] I thought it was [more] important that I go there to do damage control [and] make sure Rolf stayed in line. [And then] I convinced Rolf to offer to remove the microchip from Hope [because I thought that would] focus authorities' attention on Hope's return and away from you," Chad, who was speaking more robotically than before, continued. "I hope you approve, Father," Chad concluded.
"Hmm. I must say, that was inspired -- [after all], Princess Gina has already played her part, [and] there is no longer a role for her in my plans...for La Famiglia," Stefano admitted, causing Chad to wince in pain once again. "[And] what are your plans?" Chad wondered. "A...family reunion of sorts -- I want you, Tony, and Kristen to be there," Stefano clarified. "What about E.J.?" Chad protested. "In a perfect world, he would be there, as well...but that would mean I'd have to deal with that beast Sami Brady, [and] that wench stole half my fortune, so until she's out of the picture, Elvis will have to wait," Stefano reasoned.
"[Now], I want you to make sure my children gather at this time and location," Stefano instructed Chad while handing over a piece of paper. "Consider it done," Chad assured Stefano. "And, son, I need you to finish the job with Kate and Gabi," Stefano continued. "Understood," Chad agreed. "Don't let me down," Stefano warned before exiting the mansion through the secret tunnels.
A short time later, Kate entered the mansion and called out to Chad -- then spotted a piece of paper on the desk in the study. Kate picked up the piece of paper and started to inspect it -- just as Chad approached from behind, wielding a letter opener. Kate discreetly pocketed the piece of paper, which appeared to be either Stefano's note to Chad or Stefano's instructions for Chad, then turned around, unaware that anything was amiss.
Marlena falls under Stefano's spell
Xander stopped Nicole in the hallway of the hospital, and she struggled to pull her arm free. Sarah rounded the corner and asked what was going on. Xander let go of Nicole. "You need to tell your boyfriend to keep his paws to himself," Nicole complained. Xander explained that he had wanted to talk to Nicole privately about Mackenzie. Confused, Sarah asked what Xander wanted from Nicole. Xander explained that he had wanted to ask Nicole to talk to Eric about allowing Xander to remain in Mackenzie's life.
"[Eric] said he would leave that decision to me. Why would he go back on his word?" Sarah asked. Xander said he wanted to be sure that he would get to spend time with his stepdaughter, since he and Sarah were engaged. Shocked, Nicole asked Sarah why Sarah had not told her earlier about the engagement.
"As someone who has done hard time married to your fiancÚ, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into," Nicole argued. Xander rolled his eyes, and he countered that Nicole had her own sordid romantic history. Sarah told Nicole that she appreciated the advice, and she added a snide comment about Nicole's extensive history.
"Before Xander, there was Trent, Xander, Lucas, and E.J. Am I missing anyone?" Sarah asked. "And on that list, Xander was my least favorite," Nicole quipped. Sarah said that Xander was not the man that he had been. Xander explained that Sarah's love had changed him, and it had convinced him not to waste his time with "women who don't deserve me." Nicole wished Sarah luck and walked away.
"She just wants a fight," Sarah said. Sarah told Xander that he could chase after Nicole, or he could go with her to see Mackenzie. When Sarah mentioned that Maggie and Eric were with Mackenzie, Xander's smile fell away. "You know there's nothing I'd rather do than see our little girl, but maybe I should avoid Eric for the time being," Xander suggested. Xander promised to meet up with Sarah later. After Sarah walked away, Xander frowned and went after Nicole.
Xander caught up with Nicole in the park, and he demanded that they finish their conversation. "You want me to put in a good word for you with Eric?" Nicole asked. Nicole told Xander that Eric hated his guts, and she asked Xander to stop following her. "There is one other thing," Xander said. Xander told Nicole that Dr. Raynor had informed him about Nicole's baby switch theory. Xander told Nicole that her theory was crazy.
"I saw you threatening Dr. Raynor at the hospital," Nicole said. Nicole added that she had seen the birthmark on Mackenzie's neck. Confused, Xander asked Nicole why the birthmark was an issue. "Brady said that his daughter, Kristen's daughter, had one in the same exact place," Nicole said. Nicole said that she believed that Mackenzie was really Rachel. As Xander leaned in to threaten Nicole, a defiant Nicole asked, "What are you going to do? Kill me?"
Nicole called Xander a dog. "All bark and a soft, gummy bite," Nicole said. Xander told Nicole that her theory about the baby switch was wrong and that she could hurt people if she said anything. "I have seen a lot of strange things the past few days," Nicole objected. "I don't care what you think you've seen," Xander argued. Xander warned Nicole that her theory would hurt Sarah and Eric, who had already been through enough with Mackenzie.
"The last time you opened your big mouth, you almost ruined both of our happily ever afters. So, trust me when I tell you that Mackenzie is Sarah and Eric's and drop this. Drop it," Xander said. After Xander walked away, Nicole took the swab out of her purse that she had secured from Mackenzie earlier, and she looked at it. "Sorry, Xander, but I can't do that," Nicole whispered.
In Mackenzie's hospital room, Sarah fussed over her daughter. With a nervous laugh, Sarah admitted that she was afraid to look away. Sarah told Mackenzie that Mackenzie was the best thing that had ever happened to her. As Sarah grinned, she added that in addition to Mackenzie's good health, she had more good news. "I'm engaged," Sarah said gleefully. Behind Sarah, Xander stepped into the room.
"A lot of people think I'm making a mistake now, but I don't, because I know that Xander loves me, and I definitely know that he loves you," Sarah said. Xander listened as Sarah told Mackenzie that Xander had supported her since the day she had learned about her pregnancy. "Honestly, if it wasn't for Xander, I wouldn't have you right now," Sarah said. Sarah turned and smiled at Xander when she saw him. Xander nodded hello.
"Why do you look so upset?" Sarah asked. Xander said he wanted to take advantage of Eric's absence to spend time with his two favorite ladies. "Then why did you look so upset when you walked in?" Sarah asked. Xander gave a questioning look. "There is no way that you are going to lose Mickey. And there is absolutely no way that you will lose me," Sarah assured Xander. Sarah hugged Xander tightly. Xander pulled away. Concerned, Sarah assured Xander that she did not care what anyone thought of him.
"I know the man that you are now. I know your heart, and I know your devotion. I trust you, Xander. You are the man that I want by my side when we raise our little girl," Sarah said. "You have no idea how it makes me feel to hear you say that," Xander whispered. Sarah asked Xander to stay with Mackenzie while she went to check on lab work. With a chuckle, Sarah asked Xander to plan the wedding with Mackenzie while she was away. Sarah left.
"Your mother was right about one thing. I love you both more than anything else in the world. You and me and Sarah, we're a family, and I will not let Nicole tear us apart," Xander vowed.
In Hope's hospital room, Kayla asked Hope how she was feeling. A melancholy Hope said she could not forgive herself for what she had done to Jennifer. "She doesn't blame you. For God's sake, you had a microchip in your head," Kayla reasoned aloud. Hope asked Kayla why Rolf had chipped her. Kayla was hesitant to say any more, but Hope reminded Kayla that Kayla knew Hope well enough to know she would not rest until her questions were answered.
"I was afraid you'd say that," Kayla said. Kayla explained that Rolf had followed Stefano's orders. "Stefano is back?" Hope asked. "That is a complicated question," Kayla said. Kayla told Hope about Steve.
"I can't imagine how hard this has been for you," Hope said. Hope apologized for playing a part in hurting Kayla. "Our biggest concern is that Steve has taken Marlena hostage, and we don't even know where they are," Kayla said. Hope gasped. Hope said she could not believe she had escorted Stefano back to Salem.
"No, you didn't bring Stefano back. Gina did, and she used your position as commissioner of the police department to cover her tracks," Kayla said. When Hope asked what Gina and Stefano had planned to do, Kayla said that Gina had been after John. Hope asked Kayla if Gina and Stefano had been successful. Kayla told Hope about what had happened in Prague, and she assured Hope that John was safe.
"But Marlena is still in danger because of me," Hope whispered. With a shake of her head, Hope added, "Marlena will never give in to Stefano. She hates him." Kayla nodded in agreement. Kayla worried aloud that Rolf had microchipped Marlena to turn her into his Queen of the Night.
In Stefano's new mansion, Stefano played chess alone. "If Rolf did his job as promised, I am finally going to have my queen," Stefano said. Marlena walked in. Stefano asked Marlena if she felt better rested. "I still feel a bit disoriented," Marlena admitted. Stefano asked Marlena if she liked her accommodations, and he explained that he had built the house specifically for Marlena.
"Everything is for you, my queen," Stefano said. "I slept so deeply. I had a vivid dream," Marlena said. Marlena explained that she had dreamed of John. Stefano stressed that John was gone and that Marlena belonged with him. With a nod, Marlena asked about the house. Stefano explained that Marlena had become his Queen of the Night in a place called Maison Blanche before it had burned down.
"Are we in New Orleans?" Marlena asked. Stefano said he had rebuilt the house in Salem. "I had Maison Blanche built for you here. And this is where you and I will reclaim our love," Stefano said. Stefano guided Marlena over to the corner to give her a cereus cactus. "Also known as the Queen of the Night," Stefano said. Stefano told Marlena that the cactus bloomed in the dark once a year.
"It is a symbol of my patience, my willingness to wait in the shadows for you to flower before me. And now, my patience has finally paid off," Stefano said as he leaned in to kiss Marlena. After a moment of hesitation, Marlena pulled away and complained of a headache. Stefano rubbed Marlena's neck to help her feel better. Marlena pulled away. "I feel much better now," Marlena said. Stefano asked Marlena if she was up to hosting a party. With a grin, Stefano explained that Chad was organizing a family get-together.
"Will John be here?" Marlena asked. "You need to forget about John Black! It's time to reconcile yourself to the fact that you will never, ever see John again!" Stefano barked. Breathless, Marlena sank into a chair. "I'll never see John again," Marlena whispered. Stefano asked Marlena to let go of her old life and embrace her new one.
"Just give in. Let go, and everything will be better," Stefano counseled. "This doesn't feel right," Marlena said. Marlena insisted that she needed to "go back to John." Wobbly as she rose to her feet, Marlena fainted, and Stefano caught her before she fell. Stefano gently placed Marlena on the couch and held her hand until she stirred awake. "My queen," Stefano whispered. "My king," Marlena said. Stefano grinned.
In the DiMera living room, Kate found the letter that Stefano had sent to Chad. Kate heard Chad return home. She stuffed the letter into her bra then cheerfully greeted Chad as he entered the room. Chad hid the letter opener behind his back, and thought about Stefano's order to kill Kate.
"I have big plans for you," Chad said. Kate asked Chad if he planned to keep his promise to her. "I always keep my promises, Kate" Chad said as he twirled his father's ring on his finger. Kate reminded Chad that charges were still hanging over her head. Chad promised that Kate would not have to worry about going to prison. A worried look crossed Kate's face, and Chad asked about it.
"You sounded like your father just then," Kate explained. Kate noticed Stefano's ring on Chad's finger, and she pointed it out. "I hope that you are not letting your father convince you to do something, to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do," Kate said. Kate urged Chad not to compromise his values. When Kate mentioned Chad's desire to be a better father and husband, Chad's face changed. Chad appeared to be struggling against his compulsion to hurt Kate.
Chad turned away and fought to put the letter opener down on the desk. When Kate asked what was wrong, Chad said he was fine. "I just haven't been sleeping well. I have a lot on my mind," Chad said. Kate asked Chad if Stefano had approached him with an agenda. At the mention of an agenda, Chad's face went blank again. Kate talked about the seductiveness of Stefano, and she turned her back to Chad as she walked around the room. Chad grabbed a statue from the desk. When Kate turned to face Chad, he hit her in the forehead with the statue, and she collapsed.
As Kate lay on the floor, Chad said, "Sorry, Katerina, but my only allegiance is to La Famiglia." Gabi walked in and announced, "It's about time you admitted that you're just as ruthless as the rest of the DiMeras." Gabi argued that the mansion was still her home. "You don't belong here," Chad said as he blocked her view of Kate lying on the floor. When Gabi asked Chad if he even cared about the child's life she had saved, Chad glowered.
"If you were hoping for a hero's welcome, you are dead wrong," Chad said. Gabi said she would not leave the house without a fight. Chad stated that he was glad that Gabi was there. "It gives me the chance to kill two birds with one stone," Chad said. Gabi asked Chad what he meant.
"I've already given Kate notice that she no longer fits the plans at DiMera anymore," Chad said. When Gabi asked what Kate had to do with the company, a groan emanated from behind the couch. "What was that?" Gabi asked. "Our old friend, Katerina. She didn't take the news very well," Chad said. Gabi glanced behind the couch and saw Kate. Shocked, Gabi rushed to check on Kate. While Gabi's back was turned, Chad grabbed the statue and slammed it against the back of Gabi's head. Gabi collapsed on top of Kate.
"I hope you are pleased, father. With these two out of the way, I can start helping you plan your party to introduce the Queen of the Night," Chad said. Abigail called out Chad's name from the hallway. "Surprise! I'm home!" A cheerful Abigail said as she walked into the room.
After Brady modeled the new line of underwear for Kristen at Basic Black, Kristen and Brady had sex on the conference table. As Kristen and Brady dressed, they discussed producing the underwear line. "No further evaluation required unless you want to repeat the test again just to make sure," Kristen said with a grin. Brady noted that they had been lucky that no one had walked in on them the first time. Kristen agreed as she kissed Brady, then she stepped back, shaken.
"What is it?" Brady asked. Kristen and Brady got dressed in silence. "It's not disrespecting Rachel's memory to focus on what we have," Brady said. "Do you really think she would want that? For us to move on?" Kristen asked. Brady said that Rachel was in their hearts and in the love they shared together. "She's here," Brady said. Kristen hugged Brady.
Once calmed, Kristen told Brady that Chad had asked to meet about the company. "As much as I would love for you to be by my side, it seems like this meeting is for family only," Kristen said. Brady raised an eyebrow. Kristen promised to represent their interests. Brady said he had faith in Kristen. After Brady headed into the back, Nicole walked into the office.
"We need to talk," Nicole said. Annoyed, Kristen asked what Nicole wanted. Nicole lit into Kristen for asking Eric to hold Mackenzie. Kristen said she felt connected to Mackenzie. "I always will. My daughter was born on that same night, and I'm invested in Mickey's recovery, and I want what is best for that little girl," Kristen said. Nicole asked Kristen why Eric should believe Kristen after her history.
"I just wanted to hold her for a minute," Kristen said. Kristen yelled that she had been missing Rachel. "Did you ever think that maybe there is a reason you lost your daughter?" Nicole asked. Visibly shaken, Kristen asked Nicole what she meant. Nicole reminded Kristen that she had only become pregnant after impersonating Nicole. Nicole asked Kristen if she had ever asked God if Kristen had lost her baby because of the horrible things she had done in her life.
"You don't deserve a baby!" Nicole yelled. Kristen attacked Nicole. Nicole pulled Kristen's hair, and the two women shrieked at one another. Brady returned from the back room, and he pulled the two women apart. "She said horrible things about me and our daughter!" Kristen yelled. Brady started to ask Nicole what she had said, but he reconsidered. "I don't care. We're leaving," Brady said. Brady guided Kristen out of the office.
"I'm sorry, Kristen, but I need to know if I'm right about you being Mickey's mother, and with your hair, I can prove it," Nicole said. Nicole unclenched her fist and revealed a handful of Kristen's hair.